Jessica Brown & Denise Smith Amos reports:
Most Southwest Ohio school districts were breathing sighs of relief Wednesday after Gov. John Kasich’s office released detailed funding amounts for each district.
Some local districts, including Princeton and Reading, would collect as much as 25 percent more in state funding next year under the plan. Others, including Indian Hill and Norwood, would see their funding remain flat. No districts would have a decrease.
Most districts had been bracing for cuts in state aid. And the proposal still must pass muster in the Ohio House and Senate, where several iterations of the proposal will be pitched. For most districts, it’s too early to tell how it might impact their decisions to hire, lay off or seek property tax levies.
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The education budget, dubbed Kasich’s “Achievement Everywhere” plan and introduced last week, provides $1.2 billion in new money for K-12 education, including lottery and video terminal lottery revenue. It totals $7.3 billion in the 2013-14 school year and $7.5 billion the year after.
Kasich’s plan would overhaul the way schools are funded by funneling more money to poor districts to equalize the playing field for the state’s nearly 2 million schoolchildren. It’s Kasich’s attempt to equalize the way Ohio schools are funded, which the state Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional four times since 1997.
The proposed education budget also sets aside additional dollars for a “Straight A Fund” for innovation grants and gives more money to districts with large numbers of students who are poor, disabled, gifted or learning English as a second language. The plan also expands the Educational Choice voucher program and gives more money to charter schools.